How to Reset Windows 8 without external media

Yesterday I’ve talked about the Windows 8 Refresh Your PC feature, today I’d like to show how you can reset Windows 8 without using external media. When performing a Reset on a Windows 8 client, you are going to run a complete fresh installation of Windows 8 without preserving any user data or settings. You would use this option before you give back your system to anyone else and want to make sure that there is no personal data or settings left on the system.

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Like the Refresh Your PC option, the Reset your PC feature can be launched from within a running Windows or from the Recovery Console. In this example I am going to launch it from within a running Windows.

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Now unless you have the Windows 8 installation media still inserted / attached to your system, Windows 8 is going to ask you to insert them before it can continue the process.

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Now here’s a little trick how you can prevent Windows 8 from asking for the external media, just in case you don’t have the media available all the time.

  1. Open an elevated prompt and create a folder called C:\OSMEDIA
  2. Then copy the install.wim file from the Windows Installation media Sources folder to C:\OSMEDIA
  3. Then enter the following command:
    reagentc.exe /setosimage /path C:\OSMEDIA /target c:\Windows /Index 1
  4. you should see the following message
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  5. When you type reagentc.exe /info you’ll get the following result:

    Extended configuration for the Recovery Environment

  6.     Windows RE enabled:   1
        Windows RE  staged:   0
        Setup enabled:        1
        User Wim enabled:     0
        Custom Recovery Tool: 0
        WinRE.WIM directory: 
        Recovery Environment: \\?\GLOBALROOT\device\harddisk0\partition1\Recovery\9dc3306c-3af5-11e1-8249-c48e1fe82496
        BCD Id:               9dc3306c-3af5-11e1-8249-c48e1fe82496
       Os recovery image:    \\?\GLOBALROOT\device\harddisk0\partition2\OSMEDIA
        Os image index:       1
        User image:          
        User image index:     0   
        Recovery Operation:   4
        Operation Parameter: 
        Boot Key Scan Code    0x0
    REAGENTC.EXE: Operation successful

Now the next time you start the Reset Your PC feature, Windows won’t prompt you to insert the media but use the sources provided locally.

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Hope you found this useful, stay tuned, there’s more coming.

10 thoughts on “How to Reset Windows 8 without external media

  1. Cannot find install.wim where exactly is it, please help sound is not working and only way for me is to rest it i have done everything that i could.

  2. Holy crap, thank you
    I knew this command existed, just didn’t know what it was. Thank you.
    This is reason one I will suggest Windows 8 to needy family members… a quick reimage, Thank God! Finally!

    @Zainnisar,
    You can get the WIM file from your install DVD or ISO in the “Sources” folder… it’s called install.wim

  3. I have two Inspiron Duo’s that I upgraded to Windows 8 for my young daughters.

    Using this guide, I was able to create the reset function, but how do I add it so that it does not ask for the product key after reset?

    I was able to do this with the beta, but cannot remember how to do it. And these systems are pre-Windows8, so do not have the product key embedded in the bios.

    Thanks

  4. I also cannot find the install.wim file…. I’ve tried saving the image as an ISO and on USB, I have turned on visibility for hidden and system files, but in the Sources folder I only have install.exe (5MB) and install.esd (2.1GB) files. Nothing matches a “*.wim” search.

    What am I missing?

  5. Are you stupid? external media refers to all devices that you put INTO your PC like Cd’s , dvd’s , UBS’s . So when you said “get the WIM file from your install DVD or ISO in the “Sources” folder” you are referring to an external source which is a DVD , im running windows 8 and i cant reset , which i should be able to do , since i have done it before i RMA’ed this laptop. Either ways all im saying is your title is misleading , please change it avoid future confusion of others.Thank you.

  6. Hi,

    First of all i kindly ask you to use a more friendly language. Second it appears that you have not understood what I am trying to explain here. The scenario i describe here consists of “upfront” preparing your system so that at a later point in time you don’t need the media when reinstalling Windows.

    Best Regards
    Alex

  7. Hi Alex,

    Thanks for he reply. I would have responded sooner, but just noticed the reply.

    I know of the website, that is how I was able to add the image. However, it does not add the product key, so it installs a different version of Windows 8, ie Pro instead of Standard.

    Thanks, Eddie

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